As a pastor, my mailbox and my inbox are constantly stuffed with “mission opportunities” that have nothing to do with Jesus’ mission of making disciples. Some slick salesmen have even created new ways for us to serve Jesus while simultaneously appealing to our love for luxury and self-indulgence. Did you know that for your next vacation you could go on a Christian mission cruise? These cruises offer the relaxation and luxury of a standard cruise but provide a nice break from the gluttonous gilt of a traditional cruise. The cruise starts few day’s spinning the slot machine and hammering the endless buffet then just when your starting to feel a twinge of guilt for all the self gratification the cruise liner will pull to an impoverished port of call so you can hand deliver some medical supplies to a needy villager. Now that everyone is felling better the passengers load back up for a worship service led by a Christian celebrity and a pop concert by a Dove Award winning Christian artist. The cruses organizers are even careful to choose celebrity pastors from various denomination persuasions to be so they don’t inadvertently exclude a segment of the Christian subculture. I know, I know, I know… I’m being pretty critical but am I the only one that thinks this kind of thing misses the heart of the great commission? Here are a few words from the promotional material of one such cruise:
Now, let me be clear – I’m not against cruises or nice vacations, but I do want to challenge the notion that this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “go”, “baptize”, “teach” and “make disciples”. Christian Cruses are not the great commission. Painting churches, building orphanages and beach evangelism, as good as they are, miss the mark too. Jesus’ call is about the establishment of local churches. It most often includes self sacrifice and the super natural work of the Holy Spirit and almost never involves an all inclusive gospel gorging on a luxury cruise liner.